Local law enforcement is warning of unemployment fraud, which has increased dramatically over the last year.

“Losses are being reported in excess of hundreds of millions of dollars,” a joint release from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado Springs Police Department said. “Locally, it appears thus far that the illicit activity cannot be tied to any specific group but is widespread. Other states have tied some of the activity to a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring with a substantial database of personal identifying information and hundreds or thousands of involved suspects.”

Several local sheriff’s employees have seen unemployment claims made in their names without their knowledge.

EPSO and CSPD advise that if you receive information about a claim you didn’t file or a U.S. Bank ReliaCard debit card absent a claim, report the fraud to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment website and the Federal Trade Commission via Identitytheft.gov.

Also, file a police report and create a file to keep records related to the fraud.

Senior Reporter

Pam Zubeck is a graduate from Emporia State University. She worked at the Tulsa Tribune before coming to Colorado Springs, where she spent 16 years at the Gazette and in 2009 joined Colorado Publishing House.